12/12/2011 06:33 pm ET | Updated Feb 11, 2012

At Detroit Soup, A City Comes Alive

Last night I had the privilege to attend Detroit Soup, a "collaborative situation" that micro-funds good community works while providing tasty delights and mingling with good, chill people -- Detroiters. I came expecting to have a good time. I've heard of events like this -- people bring $5 apiece, and then hear about cool projects before eating. After the meal, everybody votes, and one winning project gets the collective prize money from everyone in attendance. For us, that meant $690 would go to the winning organization.

As I entered the loft above the Mexicantown Bakery with two friends in tow, I saw tables on the floor and a good crowd already there. I found a seat across from two friendly looking people, and then our Detroit Soup experience began.

Conversations began about where we lived, and what we thought about the emerging scene that has truly come to life in Detroit. We talked to each other about our lives, about our interests, and we made human connections.

Then the presentations began. Students from the University of Michigan presented their Detroit Partnership, a woman in wheelchair presented her non-profit that supports disabled citizens around Detroit, a third woman promoted backpacks filled with products for the poor, and a final presenter extolled the virtues of a time-trade system where each neighbor's time is equally valued and so help gets shared throughout the community.

I can't forget about the poetry that started off the night, filled with verses that make one ponder, challenges to our politicians, and a plea for a life more authentically lived.

All in all, this experiment in micro-funding was already interesting before they served the soup. Then we all lined up and before too long, my wooden-crafted bowl was filled with a spicy vegan squash stew, with a nice hunk of bread to go with it. I took a slice of home-made vegan blueberry pie and then I returned to my table -- oh, and did I mention that the table was a door removed from its hinges?

The place was full of charm, and bustling with the energy of a city yearning for new growth. I met good people who lived in Detroit, both in Midtown and in Southwest Detroit, and we enjoyed delicious soup while voting on a cause that we believed in.